If you’re a proud American, you are undoubtedly familiar with the country’s national symbol – the eagle. As it embodies America’s strength and freedom, you will definitely spot this regal bird in your nation’s sky.
So, if you’re wondering whether you will find eagles in South Carolina, the answer is yes! There are commonly two types of eagles that can be seen in this state. Let’s get right into the details.
Are There Eagles in South Carolina?
In North America, there are four species of eagles that can be found. Out of those types, you will find two of those right in South Carolina.
We have listed out the two kinds of eagles you will see in the Palmetto state. Eagles are pretty easy to recognize, but here are more details so that you can identify their type instantly.
2 Types of Eagles in South Carolina
These are the two species of eagles that are seen in South Carolina:
- Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
- Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Eagle Species Profile and Details
You now know what regal birds you have in your state, but here are further characteristics of this bird of prey.
1. Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Quick Species Profile
- Length: 28 – 40 inches
- Weight: 6.6 – 13.9 lbs.
- Wingspan: 5 feet – 7 feet
- Commonly found in: North America (all over South Carolina and Alaska)
The bald eagle is most commonly distinguished by its special plumage color – a white head and dark brown body. White feathers covering the head are how the bird got its name having “bald” in it.
Bald eagles have striking yellow beaks, eyes, and talons. So, such a bird flying in the skies of your state will surely be hard to miss!
Although bald eagles are one of the most easily recognizable birds, they don’t develop their signature light and dark feather colors from birth.
Young bald eagles are overall brownish in color, with dark brown and white streaks all over. It can take up to five years for these raptors to get their distinguishable white head and dark brown body.
These raptors are extremely territorial and can get very aggressive during their mating seasons. So if you see a bald eagle in your area, it is best to observe it from a distance and not bother it, as it likes its space and can attack humans if disrupted.
It might seem like these birds would eat anything that comes their way. But you will be surprised to know that bald eagles eat mostly fish, and only a small portion of their diet consists of smaller mammals and birds.
A bald eagle can hold up to nearly four times its overall body weight! So when it is said that eagles signify strength, the statement is serious for sure. Female bald eagles are significantly larger than males, up to about 25% bigger.
Nests of bald eagles are known to be the biggest among all bird species in America. The largest one recorded was in Florida, which spanned a 10 feet diameter and stood 20 feet tall.
2. Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Quick Species Profile
- Length: 27 – 38 inches
- Weight: 6.2 – 14.8 lbs.
- Wingspan: 72 – 96 inches
- Commonly found in: North America, Alaska, and Mexico.
The golden eagle gets its name from the ring of shiny gold feathers around the neck area. Dark brown to almost black plumage covers the body. They have a long beak that is curved at the tip, with a yellow cere and dark grey point.
There is a line of white feathers on the tail, with a black band at the end.
The golden eagle is one the largest raptors and has claws bigger than that of an adult human’s closed palm. Not only are they huge in size, but golden eagles are also one of the best fliers among eagle species. While hunting, they can glide at a speed of 120 miles per hour.
These raptors usually like to hunt in pairs and typically prey on small mammals such as rabbits and prairie dogs. Sometimes they go for larger animals like swans and even cows.
Golden eagles are stubborn creatures and cannot easily be tamed. Training these large raptors can take up to 5 years.
Golden eagles build very large nests, with the largest one recorded to be over 8 feet wide and 20 feet tall. These eagles can rotate their head up to 270 degrees, almost like owls can.
Where Do Eagles Migrate During Winter?
Similar to all other birds and raptors, bald eagles and golden eagles will travel to different zones as seasons change. They will fly to wherever is suitable for searching for food or for mating.
Here’s a table of the range maps according to species of where falcons migrate to in winter and year-round.
|Species Name||Winter Migration to||Year-round availability|
|Bald eagle||Mississippi river valley||Alaska|
|Golden eagle||Southern Canada||Alaska, Mexico|
Eagles are undoubtedly the most majestic raptors, so you’re in luck if you live in South Carolina. Two of the most royal types of eagles reside in your area – so what are you waiting for? Go right on out with your binoculars and camera, and capture those beauties!
Image Credit: David Jolly, Shutterstock